Monday, March 16, 2009

Beadwork & Airplanes

Here is what's new in my studio. I am working on a new sculptural figure embellished with beadwork. This will be the front of the figure. As this is a work in progress, I will post again here as the figure takes on more personality.

How do I get started??

I often start new beading projects when I have to sit on a plane for a few hours. About a week ago, I went to Arizona, so with a total of 8+ hours on a plane - I started a new beaded figure. The reason I like to start projects on an airplane is that it forces me to narrow the design options to what I can carry in my re-purposed cosmetic bag that I have as a carry-on. This forces me to focus on what works really well when designing with beads - rhythm and repetition, rather than the drawers full of beads in the studio.

I usually work intuitively when I do beading. I start with fabric that has colors or a gesture in it that I like, cut a piece of it off and usually back it with a piece of acid-free paper. The paper helps keep the fabric from being too distorted from the stitching. I then go over to my beads and select a group of beads of various sizes and finishes that seem to go with the fabric. I look for colors that blend and contrast with the base fabric. I make sure I have a few different sizes and finishes and pack them up. This usually happens about 30 mins before I leave for the airport, so I don't have much time to obsess over selections. So by being captive in a plane (or a hotel room) with a small selection of beads, I have to work with what I have. When I get home, the piece has already been established and has taken on its own personality. As I work in front of the TV at home, I am less enticed by the plethora of beads available.

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